At the end of January Henno already wrote an article about “The Hex and The Healer” (the debut album from Joburg garage rockers Hellcats). I only had a chance to review it now.
On the album Alessandro (drums and vocals) and Warwick (guitar) kept it simple: No extra instruments. So just drums, guitars and vocals. And that also means no bass.
When I started listening I doubted that… I mean, how heavy and deep can you make a guitar? There must be a bass playing along! Listening a bit more intense I found that “no, that’s just guitar.”
The album is 22 minutes long (which is a bit short for a full length album), but it does contain 8 tracks.
The opener, ‘The Hex’, immediately sets the tone with a fast pace guitar lick, thundering drums and Alessandro’s driven vocals. Well, if I knew I would not be getting sweet ballads. What would you do?
‘Vuil Goed’ is not the Afrikaans Rock ‘n Roll you might expect from the title. No, all the single ladies get on the floor. Fast verses that first come to a stop with a new riff introducing the chorus.
‘Moonlight’ starts with a Black Sabbath like riff where Allesandro’s vocals then pierce through. “In the Moonlight, maybe we can make it right.”
‘Time’ opens with a phaser effect on the guitar but it’s also the song where I get into trouble. Although I really like the album, it’s getting hard to make a distinction between the songs. They all have the thunderous licks, fast drums and the vocals filling the upper sound spectrum. And all are high energy tracks.
A thing of ‘Time’ is that halfway the songs slows down considerably only to pick up the high tempo just before the end.
‘The Healer’ finally gives us a bit of a breather with it being a bit slower.
The following three tracks ‘Leaving with a Hole’, ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ and ‘Wish You Were Dead’ continue as most of the album was; high speed, high energy.
My review summary for “The Hex and The Healer”
I enjoyed the album but it did become quite monotonous, also because we only have 2 instruments and vocals to listen to. And having most songs in C sharp (I guess that Warwick’s guitar is downtuned to that) doesn’t help.
Do you agree with my assessment of the album? Leave a comment below and let me know. Feedback is appreciated and welcome.
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Musician. Music Critic. Born and bred in Holland, but living in South Africa